and i just want to thank all off you and especially our panelists so much.r it was such a great event. thank you so much for being here. [applause] >> please keep your seat and let president quarterly. >> this is booktv.org. to watch any the program she's a year online, type the author or book title in the search bar on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can share anything you see on booktv.org easily by clicking sure on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. booktv streams live online for 48 hours of the weekend with top nonfiction books and authors. tv.org. >> max boot presents a history of guerrilla warfare. the author posits that unconventional warfare, often thought of as a modern means of war, has a long tradition that dates back to antiquity. this is a little under an hour.
>> good afternoon. welcome to the heritage foundation and to our auditorium. please welcome those are joining us on all of these occasions honor heritage.org website, for those inside -- in the house. please make sure cell phones are turned off. we will post the program within 24 hours honor heritage home page for your further reference as well. hosting where the debate is doctor bucci, director of our center for foreign policy studies. he previously served heritage a senior research fellow for defense and homeland security. is well-versed in the special area operations and cybersecurity areas as well as defense support to civil authorities. he served for three decades as an army special forces officer
in july 2001 coming assume the duties of military assistance to secretary rumsfeld and worked daily with the secretary for the next five and a half years, and then upon retirement from the army continued at the pentagon is deputy assistant secretary of defense, homeland defense, and america security affairs but please join me in welcoming steve bucci. [applause] >> let me add my welcome to all of you. i think you're going to have a real treat this morning, as john mentioned him on a special forces officer by profession, and so this area is near and dear to my heart. this is kind of what we do. they don't let me do it anymore. i mentioned to max when he came in a little historical artifact, and that when i was a cadet at west point i bought a book that had just been published, a two volume set.
it was called war in the shadows, the guerrilla in history. that book from 1975 intel now, really has been sort of benchmark for this kind of historical review of the subject area. that's a long time for a book to keep that sort of position. well, with apologies, i think his book is being replaced now, and max has done that with this book which is on sale outside, "invisible armies," he i think you set a new benchmark for the subject area. his book is very, very comprehensive, and it's somewhat chronological but not entirely. it's somewhat regional but not entirely, and it's somewhat nonfunctional is the right word
but topical but not entirely. that sounds like it's not organized well, that i don't want to give you that impression. it works very well, it flows well. max is a really, really fine writer, and i say that from the standpoint of a reader. it's a very easy read in a way tthat sometimes historical works or not. so i would recommend it highly. what we are going to do this morning is when i get done introducing him, max is going to get some opening remarks for a little bit, then we're going to open it up for questions and answer. when he's done with his prepared remarks i will come back up and play moderator. i will tell you now, when you ask a question i'd like you to stand up, identify yourself very briefly, and if by the end of the second sentence i don't have a question mark, i'm going to ask you to sit down very politely. because the object of this exercise is for you to ask questions and draw from max's
knowledge and from information he presents about the book, not to give a speech g20 to the speech comes in afterwards and we conceive what we can arrange engage your own program. but that's what we are going this morning. for those of you who don't know, max boot is one of america's leading historians and military history, and one of our best historical writers. he is presently the gene j. kilpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the council on foreign relations. he continues to write extensively in "the weekly standard," "los angeles times," he's a regular contributor to "the new york times," "the wall street journal." he's been an editor and journalist for "the wall street journal" for "christian science monitor." he's written two other major books in the past that are of interest to me, "the savage wars
of peace," and "war made new: technology, warfare, and the course of history, 1500 to today." facts tends to write like really big books. and this morning he's going to talk to us about his latest, "invisible armies." with that, turn it over to you, max. [applause] >> thank you very much, steve, for that warm and generous introduction, and thank you also for your many decades of service. and, indeed, i see a lot of folks here who are either current active duty or retired military, and i thank all of you for your years of service to the nation. what i'm here to talk about today is the contents of my new book, which as steve mentioned is a history of guerrilla warfare. that although it may seem thick
and daunting at first glance, i do try to tell a good story. i sort of them have selected 5000 years of guerrilla warfare history into one book. now, that may seem like a formidable undertaking, but here today in front of your very eyes am going to do something that i think is even harder. i'm going to try to encapsulate the entire book into about a 25 minute talk picks up that's going to work out to about 200 years per minute. so fasten your seat belt, we're going to go for a little historical journey here. what i'm going to do his first talk about the origins of guerrilla warfare, then going to talk about how to counter guerrilla warfare, filing going to conclude about why it's incredibly important how we figure out how to counter guerrilla warfare. the question that most often asked what the people voted in writing a book on history of guerrilla warfare is what's the first guerrilla war. and the answer is, guerrilla warfare is as old as mankind itself. it's impossible to say when the
first guerrilla war took place because that is essentially tribal war. tribal war is going back to the dawn of mankind, have been fighting with hit and run tactics. they been staging ambushes, they've been attacking enemy villages and fleeing before the main force of the enemy can arrive. they don't stand toe to do and slug it out at the enemies, the way we would imagine the conventional army should. so in essence, tribal warriors have been taking part in guerrilla warfare for countless years, your by contrast, counterinsurgency warfare and conventional warfare are both relatively recent invention. they were only made possible by the rise of the first city states in mesopotamia about 5000 years ago. by definition you could not have a conventional army without a state. so until you its digital conventional armies which have officers and a list of ranks, and a bureaucracy in logistics and all these other things we associate with conventional armed forces.
but guess what? as soon as you at the very first city states in mesopotamia, they were immediately being attacked by nomads from the virgin islands. essentially guerrillas. and so from the very start organized militaries have always spent a lot of their time fighting unconventional, irregular warfare. and you know what? those terms don't make a heck of a lot of sense. that's one of the big takeaways that i had from doing six years of reading and research for this book. the way we think but this entire subject, it's all messed up. we think that somehow conventional warfare is the norm, that the way you all to fight is about these conventional armies slugging it out in the open. but the reality is those have always been the exception. just think about the more modern world. what was the last conventional war that we saw? this is a hard question to edge because, in fact, it was the russian invasion of georgia in
2008, which didn't last very long. and yet all of the world today there are people who are dying at war whether in afghanistan or molly or syria or congo or minimart or columbia or many of the country. all these people are victims that are being ravaged by unconventional warfare. but the trend as i see us off because this is, in fact, the norm. winter just our thinking, we are to flip our thinking 360 degrees and understand that unconventional warfare is the dominant face of warfare, always has been, always will be. every great power throughout history, every greg genho including the great generals of antiquity had to deal with the threat of unconventional warfare. including of course the greatest army of all, the roman legions, a pretty formidable force even when they were not led by russell crowe. [laughter] they bested every power in their neighborhood, but rome as it also was ultimately brought down
in the fifth century. and what was responsible for the downfall of rome? rome was much like the united states in that it did not have great power rivals. it was not surrounded by great states, other than the parthian or persian empire. ultimately, it was basically surrounded by those that is labeled as our variance, and how did the barbarians fight? well, they did not have organized military. they did not have centurions. they did not have all the infrastructure of the roman legions. they fought in a very different style. and yet ultimately they were successful. in the fall of rome was precipitated by the invasion of europe in the fourth century by a fierce group of warriors known as the huns. and a fourth century historian, a roman historian left a very interesting and perceptive description of how the huns font. he said they are very quick in their operations of exceeding
speed and fund is a surprising there any. they reunite and again after having inflicted vast loss upon the enemy, scattered themselves or the whole point in irregular formation, always avoiding and entrenchment. think about that description but that sounds a lot like guerrilla warfare to me. that's essentially what the huns were practicing under formal leader, attila the hun bigger masses of guerrilla war for such that they even pushed the dramatic tribes further west into the roman empire and led to the collapse of the greatest empire in antiquity. so in many ways there's truly nothing new under the sun about the threat posed by guerrillas. they have been around as longer than civilization itself. and the fact that he was army, marine corps and other modern militaries, including the french, have to deal with the threat today is absolutely unsurprising. but i don't mean to suggest that actually nothing has changed over the course of the last 5000
years. there have, in fact, been some significant changes. the biggest one has to do with the power of public opinion and propaganda. this was something that was demonstrated in our very own war of independence. now, when we think of the american war of independence we can think of battles like lexington and concord, where the yankees slithered on their bellies and shot at the red coats from behind trees and rocks in ways that the red coats considered to be ungentlemanly and not quite crooked. these were no doubt effective tactics. but in the end, what's striking to me about the american revolution is the extent to which it was decided not so much by what happened on the battlefield, but what actually happened in the house of parliament, in the comments in england. now, when you read conventional accounts, as i may use that word of the american revolution, they usually conclude with the battle of yorktown in 1781, at which
lord cornwallis surrendered about 7000 troops to general washington. and there is no doubt this was a massive setback for the british war effort. but the fact remains that he was renting 7000 troops to washington that british still have thousands more troops in north america. america. and they could've summoned tens of thousands more troops from other parts of the empire if they had decided to do so. but they were not able to do so because of the power of a new force in warfare, a term those only coined faithfully in 1776, the power of public opinion. now, if the founding fathers had been paddling of the british empire but the roman empire, i can achieve that the romans no matter how many battlefields defeats they would've suffered government would've come back and george washington, the founders, would have been crucified quite literally. the fact that this did not happen is because of what
happened institutions that iran did not have to worry about, at least not after the rise of the empire. and that was the house of commons, parliament. because in 1782, a year after, in the year after the battle of yorktown there was a very close vote in the house of commons to discontinue offense of operations in north america. the vote was 234-215. it was a nail biter but because lord north who was the hardline prime minister who want to prosecute the war against the american rebels, he lost the vote and, therefore, he had to resign office. and lord rockingham and his wigs were committed to a policy of conciliation with their american brothers took office. and that i would submit to you was truly where the american revolution was one. that was something founding fathers were very well aware of. they tried very hard to influence public opinion, not only in the american colonies
but also in great britain. when you think about documents such as thomas paine's common sense, or our very own declaration of independence, as much as anything, these were propaganda weapons used against the british and had the impact over the course of several years, long years of war, they were down the british will to fight and ultimately resulted in its vote to discontinue the war in north america. now, that's something new in water. that's something that was completely different. that was something that, you know, the huns and the romans did not have to worry about the power of public opinion. but now with the rise of democracy, the spread of me, that becomes a major force. and, in fact, many others in the future would seek to emulate what the american rebels dead, including some such as the vietcong or the iraqi or afghan insurgent have tried to use the power of propaganda and public opinion against us.
all these factors are especially important in the theories of mousey tone who is one of the great of course and most influential theorists of guerrilla warfare that there ever was there in a very different view of guerrilla warfare. .net as practiced by the nomadic warriors of old. he wrote an incredible he influential book in 1938 called on protracted warfare. which he wrote sitting in a cave in northern china after the more insulin to that he didn't notice that a fire from a candle was burning a hole in his sock. and what mao emphasized is, as he famously said, that people are like water, and the army is like fish. he said that it was essential to keep the closest possible relations with the common people, that a guerrilla force had to be extremely cognizant of winning the support of the public upon whom it was operating.
he gave instructions to soldiers to be courteous and polite, to paper and articles and is -- believe me, this was not something the huns worried about thousands of years before. their idea of public relations is simply killing as many people as they possibly could, and as gruesome a fashion as they possibly could. but mao understood in this new age had to pay attention to the public opinion, and that is something that has been incredibly influential ever since. it's especially been influential even more so with terrorist organizations. because terrorism as the anarchist set in the 19th century is propaganda by deed. even more than guerrilla warfare, terrorism is really about selling a public relations point. in fact, osama bin laden on these are the most famous terrorist of our age, went so far as to say that the media war is 90% of waging jihad. he placed the emphasis not on
battlefield attack, but on the perception that he could foster among his enemies. now, the very fact that media has become so important, the very fact that public opinion has become so incredibly important puts a great power like the united states, especially a great democratic power like the united states, at a disadvantage. you know, something very interesting comes out when you look at what's changed in guerrilla warfare, and as part of this book we did a database of insurgencies since 1775, which is included as an appendix, and what we found was that the win rate for insurgents has gone up since 1945. friday 1945, insurgents won about 20% of their wars. since 1945, they are winning about 40% of their wars. so the win rate for insurgents has roughly doubled. and what accounts for that? i would argue it's the power of public opinion and propaganda,
the ability of even relatively weak groups to bring down stronger adversaries by marshaling public opinion against them. that's something that all insurgents tried to do these days, and sometimes very successfully. but there is a danger here come and we should not swing too far from one extreme to the other. we should not, we should not underestimate the power of guerrillas nor should we overestimate the power of guerrillas and terrorists. because they're not invincible. and i think there has been a fallacy and a tendency in the post-world war ii era to focus on a handful of successes that the transcendence and h ho chi minh's to thank wow, these gorillas are 10-foot tall superhumans, they could not possibly be defeated. that's in fact not the case because if you go back to the figure i cited, even if insurgents are winning roughly 40% of their wars, that means they are losing 60%. and the reality is, just as most business startups don't become
apple or microsoft, so most insurgent groups don't become the vietcong or the chinese red army. and to make the point i would refer you to one of the most famous insurgents of all time, shake of their who once used to a door in every dorm room role in the world. he became a legend because of the success he and fidel castro had in overthrowing the regime in cuba in the 1950s. a very impressive campaign but it was made possible by the fact that he had no legitimacy. he had lost the support of the entire society. that's why castro with only a few hundred followers was able to overthrow this date that was definite tens of thousands of soldiers who died american supply aircraft and tanks and all sorts of heavy armor. they were angrily successful in cuba. but when shea got cocky and decide to try to export the cuban revolution, it didn't work out so well for them.
what he try to do in 1966 is he went to bolivia. what he discovered in bolivia was not a country with an unpopular dictator but what he discovered was a country that had a popularly elected president. and he did not have much success in trying to change the nature of bolivian politics because they shake of the legitimacy because he came in as an outsider originally this argentinian who became a cuban citizen coming in from the outside with a handful of followers. they didn't even speak the language of the local union. in fact, his best friend when it simply was chico. so it's no surprise that by 1967, he was hunted down by these guys, the bolivian army rangers, trained by u.s. army special forces. and this is how che wound up, with his corpse being poked at by his enemies.
to even che, this icon of revolutions, he could be defeated and killed. and ottawa to increase suggest that it's impossible to defeat any group of insurgents. you can do it. you just have to have the right strategy. well, the question is, what is the right strategy? there had been many different approaches but essentially they come down to either what i would call scorched earth or what is often known today as population counterinsurgency, or more popularly as parks and my spirit and there was kind of a controlled experiment that was unwittingly run by two of the great nations of europe, britain and france, in the 1950s to show which of these approaches is more successful. because britain and france were each fighting counter insurgencies in different colonies on different sides of the world. the french were fighting in algeria from 1954-1962. the british were fighting in
malaya from 1948-1960. aand they adopted very different methods of fighting, example in -- the population centric approach. now, what is the scorched earth should understand -- mean in practice was if you want to find out, one could we doing it myself to renting this wonderful movie, the battle of algiers which i would recommend to anybody was interested in what happened in algeria because it's pretty i could. and what it depicts is what happened in 1957 when the french tried to break up an insurgent cell in the city of algiers, which was planting bombs that were killing civilians. especially european civilians. what they did was they rounded up tens of thousands of muslim men in the casper, the native quarter of algiers, and they send them in for interrogation. to find out what the new. how to the interrogation process
work? well, we know because of what happened to this gentleman who was not an algerian. he was french. he was actually a french jew who ran the republican newspaper in algiers. and it was for this sin that he was picked up by paratroopers in 1957, and he was taken to an interrogation center. we all know about medieval instrument of torture like the rack or the iron maiden. but he was to discover a newfangled, and modern instrument of torture known as, french slang for this handcranked dynamo which has, as you can see, two clips are and you attach the clips to the pages of whoever you're interrogating, then you turn the crank, and the faster you turn, the more electricity comes out. so what happened to him? he was taken to this interrogation center by the paratroopers. he was stripped. he was put on a wooden board,
strapped in with leather straps, and he had initially the clips applied to his ear and to his finger. and what he later wrote of his expense was a flash of lightning exploded next to my ear and i felt my heart racing. i struggled, screening, but he did not give up information the paratroopers wanted. and so then they took one of the clips off of his ear and attached it to his. and he wrote that my body shook with nervous shocks getting stronger and intensity. but this newspaper editor who was tough, he still did not give up the information the paratroopers were demanded. so they dragged him off the table using his tie knotted around his neck as a leash, and after beating him savagely with their fists, they tied into a board and subjected him to what the paratroopers called, french slang for a practice that we know as waterboarding.
and he said i had the impression of drowning and the terrible agony of -- took possession of a. after this ordeal, he was dragged still naked, thrown into a cell on a mattress stuffed with barbwire and left to spend the night listening to the floods and the screams resonating around the interrogation center. now, that's a very tough approach to doing counterinsurgency. now, we sometimes hear that torture doesn't work. well, don't you believe it. however morally questionable or reprehensible it may be, it can be tactically effective. and, in fact, it was tactically effective for the french in the battle of algiers. within nine months they manage to get all the insurgent leader to rat each other out. they rolled out the entire insurgent networ network in algt at by the end of 1957, algiers was safe. so you could argue in a tactical
sense, and a tactical sense the french had won the battle of algiers. the problem was the publicity that attended their practices, and they could not keep secrets they way they were treating detainees. entrée was for some unacceptable reason allowed to live after his interrogation, as many detainees were not. and he wrote a book called the question which became a bestseller in france. and there were others who spilled the beans on what was happening in algeria. and that caused a huge public backwash, no one in france but around the world and ultimately it was that public backwash the cost with the algerian war. by 1962 they had to grant algeria independence. and so the tactics which have been very effective tactically for them backfired and led to eventual defeat in algeria. now, on the other side of the world them virtually the same time the british were fighting their own counterinsurgency in malaya. and the war effort there started
in 1952, was led by this man, a generation that be confused with this meant, the actor david niven for whom he is a dead ringer. [laughter] so this man, not this man, but this than was the british commander in malaya. and when he arrived in 1952, he found a deeply entrenched insurgency much as in algeria two years later. the one in malaya was being waged by the malayan liberation army, one of many comments groups that were going to take over in the postwar area. they dynamited trains. they even killed the previous high commissioner. in fact, gerald drove from the airport in the very same rolls-royce in which his predecessor had been shot to death a few months before. that must've been a chilling experience. so it would've been very understandable if under the circumstances of the general had
resorted to absolute savagery to try to terrorize the population. but that's not what he did because he understood the key to success was not terrorizing the population. it was securing the population. .. >> essentially, what he was doing was drawing up the sea in which the insurgents swam. he was preventing the chinese squatters from continuing to support the insurgency. he did other things as well. for example, he sent aircraft to
overfly insurgent-held areas and to drop leaflets urging their surrender. another innovation was actually to have loud speakers equipped to these aircraft so they could call out individual insurgents by name and tell individuals to surrender by name, a pretty spooky tactic. general templar sent large formations thrashing through the jungle as the u.s. armed forces would later do in vietnam. instead, he emphasized the gathering of intelligence and placed the emphasis on expanding special branch, on ebbs panning action able -- expanding action able intelligence. he even imported head hunters from borneo to act as trackers. but ultimately, the general knew it all came back to the population. he's associated with two very famous sayings.
he said the shooting side of the business is only 25% of the trouble, and the other 75% lies in getting the people of the country behind us. he also said the answer lies not in pouring more people into the jungles, but in the heampts and minds of the people -- hearts and minds of the people. now, that is a phrase that has become iconic. by hearts and minds he didn't mean we're going to hand out a lot of a goodies to the people, what he meant was we're going to control the people, and first of all it requires establishing security for the people, but it also requires some legitimacy to make the people acquiesce to what your security forces are doing. and the most powerful weapon in his arsenal was the promise of independence for malay ya. he said if you help us defeat the communist insurgency, we will make you free, we will make you an independent nation, and that's exactly what he did. this was not something the french understood in algeria
pause they were trying to fight -- because they were trying to fight for the continuation of the french colonial empire inial jeer or ya, and not surprisingly, there were not a lot of french citizens who were excited to fight for continued french rule. that's something which which hao proven crucially important in places such as northern ireland or colombia or iraq where you've seen substantial success for counterinsurgency forces. many of them have followed pretty closely on the templar playbook, creating a winning formula that can blunt the appeal of insurgents. now, this is not just a matter of historical interest because, in fact, just as insurgency has always been the dominant form of warfare, it are -- it remains so today, and it's something we have to worry about. this is not a threat that is
going away despite the death of osama bin laden. in many ways it could actually, i hate to say it, it could get worse. because one of the major trends over the last hundred or so years is that the firepower available to insurgents has been increasing. is a century ago western armies battled insurgents who had nothing more than a few spears and bows and arrows. today there is no corner of the world so remote that every inhabitant doesn't have access to ak-47s, explosives. very, very hard to deal with even though they're pretty basic infantry weapons. what does the future hold? well, unfortunately, we have to contemplate the possibility that insurgents could ultimately get their hands on weapons of mass destruction and, alas, we may not have george clooney around to safe us. -- to save us. now, i don't mean to be overly alarmist, but this is something we have to think about seriously, and what would happen
if insurgents did get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction? this is a map that comes from a magazine that i'm sure all of you are avid readers of called the international journal of health geographics. you can check out your copy at home when you leave here today. what that map demonstrates is what would happen if a 20-kill lo ton nuclear device were to go off in downtown manhattan. now, a 20-kill ton device is not a very big nuke. the arsenals of the united states and russia are full of many, many, many nuclear weapons many, many, many times bigger than this. but this is a very rough and ready nuke of the kind that it would not be hard for the iranians or the north koreans or the pakistanis or others to design. so what would happen if one of these things was popped off in downtown manhattan? well, the map shows certain assumptions about wind speed and other factors what the devastation would be.
and, of course, it's worst around the ground zero, and it's slowly getting a little bit better as you go farther out. but the estimate in this scientific journal is that this relatively small nuclear device would injury about 1.6 million people and kill over 600,000 people. just from being set off in lower manhattan. and, of course, you would see similar devastation if one were to be is the off here in washington. now, i don't mean to alarm anybody here, but i think we need to think about these kinds of dangers because they are not going away. and as the iranian nuclear program accelerates, as pakistan stabilizes, these are very real possibilities that we have to think very hard about. rome was brought down by barbarians. we have to be very careful that we ourselves are not brought down by barbarians, and i think the first defense is to understand the nature of the problem, and that's what aye tried to contribute to with this book, to show the kinds of centrals -- of strategies that
insurgents have applied. insurgency is not going away. this is going to remain the number one threat that we face. thank you. [applause] >> okay, ladies and gentlemen, we will now take questions. we have folks with microphones. all right. please raise your hand, and as i acknowledge you, let the folks get to you with the microphone and then identify yourself. all right: here we go. >> yes, thank you. cornelia weiss, u.s. air force. where does rule of law fit into this? >> well, rule of law can be a very important part of establishing legitimacy. because as i said, it's very hard to win with a pure scorch.
ed earth strategy. even when you're willing to be as brutal as the nazis. they still didn't manage to pacify the ball kins in world war ii. the soviets still didn't manage to pacify afghanistan in the 1980s even though they were willing to kill a million people. because the nazis and the soviets, they offered nothing positive, no reason why the people of yugoslavia or the people of afghanistan would support them. they offered nothing but death and december ration, and that ultimately was not a winning strategy. i think what people do want to see is they want to see the rule of law. not necessarily our law, but their law. that's something that i think people respond positively to. and if they see that the soldiers around them are enforcing the law rather than preying upon them, rather than stealing from them, rather than raping their daughters, if they see that the soldiers are upholding the law, thai going to be -- they're going to be much more likely to follow the soldiers. it's a crucial element, i would
argue, of successful counterinsurgency. >> right here. >> i'm robert price, osd. office of secretary of defense. how do we do this cheap and easy? we've done this before here now twice in iraq and afghanistan, protective periods of counterinsurgency long term even after some of the immediate threats were taken down followed by extensive amounts of nation building, etc. do we have of to do that every time, or is there a cheap and easier way to do this? >> well, ideally, you will not have to wage future counterinsurgencies by sending hundreds of thousands of american troops to foreign lands. ideally, you would be able to partner with foreign troops in their own countries to enable them to get better which is something we've done in countries such as colombia or the philippines. we've seen that backfire more recently in mali where it turned
out the troops we were training wound up overthrowing the government. but to my mind, a great template comes from somebody that we tend to forget these days but we should remember, edward lance dale, the quiet american who was once a language jenld dare figure. he was a former advertising man who joined the air force and the cia, and he was sent to the philippines in the late 1940s when they were facing the huck rebellion, one of the major communist uprisings of the the post-world war ii period sp. what he did was he didn't send an army, he simply drove out into the boondocks to get to know the people of the philippines. he didn't sit in the embassy, he went out there to really figure out what was going on, and the most important thing he did was he identified a great leader who could lead the philippines out of this morass with support, and that was ramon --
[inaudible] land ares dale pushed to make him the defense minister and then the president. and he was this great leader who rooted out a lot of the corruption which was causing people to turn away from the filipino government. he end the brutality -- he ended the brutality which was causing villagers to flee into the hands of the hucks. he established clean elections and basically took away all of the ideological appeal that the hucks could possibly have. of this was an effective strategy, and it's something we need to think about today. in afghanistan, i think afghanistan has really suffered over the course of the last decade by not having great leadership, not having as the previous questioner reminded us the rule of law. afghanistan, however, is going to have another election in 2014, and we have a huge, huge stake in the outcome. who's going to succeed hamid karzai? is it going to be somebody as weak and pliable as karzai, or is it going to be somebody more
in the mold who will be honest, uncorrupt, tough, a true leader that the people of afghanistan can respect? i would suggest to you that we need our modern day edward lansdales who can win the trust and loyalty of key afghans and find an honest man. and, yes, they do exist even in afghanistan. and find an honest man and promote him as much as possible into the office of the presidency, because that kind of leadership can be worth more than entire divisions of american troops. >> right here. and you and you. >> wanted to return to a point you made a few seconds ago about rule of law, debating whether you argue it's rule of law and the public's view of rule of law and how that rolls into mali. and more broadly across the islamic world because you now have organizations like
al-qaeda in the islamic maghreb that are portraying themselves as pseudo-rule of law organizations, but the law they support, obviously, which they claim is culturally more appropriate to the region, obviously, is a hard core interpretation of sharia that involves cutting people's hands off and tearing down shrines. so then the question then becomes is there a universal rule of law that's humane, or should we just accept that what they're saying is a form of rule of law we might have to go another way? obviously, they portray themselves as a more culturally relevant rule of law-centered organization. >> well, i mean, what we've found in recent years is when you have these fundamentalist islamist groups take over areas and try to impose their rule of law, this salafist code which is extremely puritanical, in fact, makes the puritans look like, you know, easygoing vacationers by comparison, when they actually try to impose this
salafist code even in diehard, very conservative muslim area, it proves very unpopular. that was why al-qaeda in iraq suffered major backlash in 2007, because the people of anbar province did not like being ruled by people who told them they would be executed for smoking a cigarette. that's why the taliban were not that hard to overthrow in 2001, because the people of afghanistan turned against this barbaric code that the taliban were trying to impose. and this is, you know, in iraq and afghanistan, hardly two of the most liberal, cosmo cosmopolitan countries in the world. today i suspect you're seeing much the same thing in northern mali. i suspect it's not proving very popular. however, the reason why these groups can have enduring appeal is because there's not a good alternative. and the problem that we faced, for example, in afghanistan is that brutal and unpopular as the taliban are, the government has often been worse because the
government has not delivered any kind of justice. what the government delivers is a decision that goes to the highest bidder. so bad as the taliban may be, they're less corrupt, and you will get a more or less honest judgment out of them which will then be enforced with barbaric severity. that's not the ideal that people want, but it may be better than the alternative. i think the challenge that we face in countries such as mali, afghanistan or elsewhere is to try to build up nonfundamentallist institutions of governance and rule of law that will, in fact, deliver a modicum of justice which is what the people want, but not to do it with the kind of barbaric severity that these islamist groups do it with. if we can do that, i think we will be success. >> okay. the gentleman down there in front. >> thank you. my name is -- [inaudible] voice of america. russian service. what about the syria? we see the scorched earth policy and little success from --
[inaudible] what are -- [inaudible] for the future. >> well, it's interesting what's happened because as the power of the media has grown, scorched earth strategies are becoming less successful. these days they can only work in places where nobody's paying attention. it worked in sir sri lanka puttg down the tamil tiger, it worked for chechnya. but look what happened in libya. gadhafi was trying to put down a rebellion, and there's no doubt in my mind that 100 years ago he would have succeeded. he did not this time, however, because the attention of the world news media, the united states and all these international world organizations focused on what he was doing. and before he could come in and torch benghazi and kill all the rebels, we and our nato allies intervened to stop that. now, in the case of syria we have not intervened, but certainly other outside powers have. and the rebels have been able to
get support, for example. from the gulf states which keeps them from being simply swept off the board. bashar assad in turn gets support from iran. so at the moment the war is more or less stalemated because both sides have, you know, some cree cree -- some degree of support, assad is very unpopular, but the insurgents have not been able to push him out all the way. and this goes back to the incredible importance of legitimacy. for most syrians, assad lacks legitimacy because he's part of a minority. however, he does have support in the allah white community. so he's able to cling to power with a small degree of almost no, but a small degree of legitimacy left. the rebels, in turn, are arguably forfeiting some of their legitimacy by some of their excesses, by allowing extremist islamists to take a
prominent role in their ranks. so the conflict is stalemated. but this is, you know, this is a classic insurgency and counterinsurgency which i suspect at the end of the day will end as a victory for the insurgency. the problem is what's the country going to look like afterwards? governments are not that hard to overthrow. what's hard is to establish security and stability afterwards. that's the big challenge. that's where we've struggled in iraq and afghanistan, and we're going to struggle even more in syria. >> gentleman right here. >> thank you very much. my name is tyler o'neill, i'm a freelance writer with the washington freebie con, and i worked on the romney campaign in the fall. mitt romney talks in the his book, "no apology," about soft power. and he mentions it specifically as a weapon we can use against al-qaeda. we send a lot of money to foreign countries, and we're sending money to help hospitals.
well, al-qaeda builds them, gets all the credit for helping the community, and we're stuck in the back. so can we use soft power to our advantage to combat insurgency? >> we can use soft power, but we have to do it more intelligently than we've dope it today. -- than we've done it today. it's mind-boggling how many tens of billions of dollars we've wasted in countries like iraq and afghanistan building white elephant projects of no earthly use in actually battling the insurgency. we would build hospitals or schools or electricity plants or water treatment plants, and i'm not really sure why we were doing all this. i think it's something that i call the gratitude theory of counterinsurgency which is that if you give them really cool stuff, they will like you. well, a, if you give them really cool stuff and you're not actually in control of that area, the other side is going to claim credit for it. so if you build stuff in sadr city but don't control sadr
city, guess what? the sadrs are going to claim credit for it. if you don't have security, they're not going to come over to your side if they're going to get killed for that. they're not suicidal. so you've got to have basic security. and to establish basic security, you have got to have men on the streets with guns 24/7. this is the'sceps of the surge -- essence of the surge that was implemented in 2007. you've got to be able to control the neighborhoods, protect the people. and at that point they're going to be willing to come over to your side. and, sure, there's some spending that can be helpful, jobs programs to put unemployed young men to work so they're not planting bombs. but at the end of the day it comes down to security buttressed by legitimacy and a lot of, a lot of runaway spending on public works projects is not going to win a lot of counterinsurgencies.
>> okay. in the back, the gentleman in the first row in back. and then the guy behind you, then we'll get you, and then we're probably going to run out of time. >> nick -- [inaudible] i'm a member of heritage, former enlisted and special forces in iraq, 2006-2008. i was wondering if you could comment at all, some of the internal conflicts that we experience within the military on the strategy going forward, because i know, for instance, being a part of an oda and being responsible for the same area that maybe a convention al-bahary divide would handle and then having to do with -- [inaudible] in different places, very different approaches to counterinsurgency in each one. so there was that aspect of it, but there was also the portion of special forces, you know, we kind of take ownership of unconventional warfare and counterinsurgency, and it seemed especially toward the latter days of iraq and afghanistan, we were kind of pushed to the back of the room. i was just wondering if you had
any comments on that. >> thank you for your service and the service of so many others in this room. but to answer your question, it's a good one. because you're right, traditionally the sf, the army special forces, the green berets have taken the lead role in unconventional warfare and in dealing with guerrillas and, in fact, acting as guerrillas themselves. the conventional army, the big army has been very resistant to that kind of mission, and we have paid, i think, a very heavy price in our recent military or history for that resistance because we went into vietnam with a fairly arrogant attitude on the part of some such as, you know, a u.s. army chief of staff in the early 1960s who famously said any good soldier can handle guerrillas. this notion that, well, if we can fight the red army, we don't have to worry about guerrillas, but, in fact, they fight in a very different manner. and the same armed forces that wiped the floor ultimately wound
up losing to the viet cong. along the way, however, i think the army and the marine corps learned a lot of very valuable lessons so that by the end of the vietnam war, they were pretty formidable counterinsurgents. the tragedy is what happened afterwards. the manuals were literally thrown in the waste paper basket, and they said, whoo, we never want to do this again, let's get back to fighting the red army. so when the army went into afghanistan and iraq -- the big army, and i'm not talking about the special forces, the big army was not well prepared. and i think we paid a heavy price for the fact that we didn't even have an army and marine field manual counterinsurgency until the end of 2006. well, along the way, getting back to what i said a second ago, the army is an adaptive, learning organization, it can figure out what's going on. along the way all these ncos and junior officers, they figured out what to do. they didn't have any manual, they just figured it out. and along the way the u.s. army
and marine corps, i think, in the past decade have become perhaps the finest insurgency source. what these ncos and officers are able to do in the field is mind-boggling to get the effects that they want. they're incredibly good at doing this kind of stuff which is a lot harder than just laying down a lot of general precepts. you actually have to apply those precepts to a specific cultural context. and they understand that cultural concept in a way they did not at the beginning of the war. my concern is what's going to happen now that we're out of iraq, we're about to get out of afghanistan. i hear a lot of people in the army saying, whoo, thank goodness that's over with, we never want to do that again, let's get back to -- well, there's no red army anymore, but we'll fight somebody like the red army if they would be obliging enough to come out and let us whack them. [laughter] well, you know, i wish there were more leaders out there as stupid as saddam hussein, but i am concerned there may not be. because, you know, saddam was
very obliging, twice putting these big tank armies in the desert and putting big signs on them so we could hit them. i'm concerned there may not be other leaders who are willing to do that. in fact, i suspect our adversaries have learned from saddam hussein, have learned that it's smarter to fight us with irregular tactics. my concern is that is what we're going to see a lot more of in the future, and i'm very worried that the army and the marine corps are going to be in for a big, nasty surprise the next time because i'm very concerned they're going to forget the lessons they have learned at such great cost over the last decade. >> i'm sorry. i'm going to change my mind because we're running out of time. i want to ask max to take two more minutes to do closing, and i'd like you to stay in place for a second and let him get out the door because he's willing to today for a couple of minutes to sign some books, but he's got another appointment that he's got to get to that is time
sensitive, it's tv. so, max, i give you the final two minutes to wrap it up and leave us with closing thoughts. >> well, i'd like to leave you, essentially, with where i started, which is by reminding you that the way that we think about unconventional warfare is all messed up, that it is the norm, that it is not going away, and we'd better be ready for it. to reiterate what i just said, you know, we will pay a heavy price if we're not ready for it. our enemies are certainly thinking and adapting new ways to attack us, and they're not going to do it on a conventional battlefield standing toe to toe with the finest force the world has ever seen. they're going to attack our weak spots whether it's using weapons of mass destruction, cyber weapons, whether it's going to be staging all sorts of fiendish terrorist plots and hit and run raids and hostage taking in places like algeria. this is what warfare is all about. we're never going to achieve some platonic ideal of conventional warfare because there have been very few of
those wars throughout history, and there are not going to be a lot of hem in the future. so like it or not, we'd better get ready which i fear and suspect the future is going to look a lot like the past, which means there's going to be a lot of unconventional warfare in our future. >> all right, thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> for more information visit the author's web site, maxboot .net. >> she was the first presidential wife to be called first lady and the first to get a college education, and with her husband, rutherford b. hayes, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in the white house. meet lucy hayes in c-span's new series, "first ladies: influence and image." examining the public and private lives of the women who served as first lady. season one begins in just over a week on presidents' day, february 18th, at 9 p.m. eastern
and pacific on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. >> here's a list of the ten best-selling nonfiction e-book and print titles according to "the new york times." this list reflects sales as of january 31st. first, neurosurgeon evan alexander in "proof of heaven." the book has been on the list for 13 weeks. u.s. supreme court justice sonia sotomayor is second with her autobiography, "my beloved world." she recently appeared on booktv, and you can watch her discussion online at booktv.org. lawrence wright debuts on the list third with his look into the world of the church of scientology in "going clear: scientology, hollywood and the prison of belief." number four, bill o'reilly and martin dugard recount the assassination of president john f. kennedy in "killing kennedy." the book is in its t 16th week
on the list. mark owen's "no easy day" is fifth followed by bill o'reilly and martin dugard's second appearance on the list with "killing lincoln." seventh, the book of fraternity humor, total frat move. it's the book's first week on the bestseller list. eighth, the personal transformations of six people in the book "ten years later." pulitzer prize-winning journalist jon meacham's biography of thomas jefferson is ninth, and at number ten, larry alexander tells the story of an american and german pilot flying over germany in 1943 with "a higher call." for more on these bestsellers and more, go to ny times.com and click on arts.